Rating: 4 ♥’s
Published: June 20, 2023
Genre: Mystery
Pages: 324

Description: Music from the busy dance floor echoes into the deserted room where the Prom Queen lies deadly still. A tiara rests on her soft blonde curls, but her face is frozen with fear, and her painted red lips are forever sealed shut in a silenced scream…
When Detective Amanda Steele’s niece, Ava, begs her to look for a missing schoolfriend, she immediately agrees to take on the case. Eighteen-year-old Reece left home three nights ago after fighting with her mother and hasn’t been seen since. But when the teenager’s body is discovered brutally murdered, poised dramatically at the prom venue, Amanda is devastated she didn’t save the girl in time.
Haunted by the scene, Amanda dives headfirst into the case. Chasing every lead, she is horrified when she discovers a potential key witness strangled in her own home. It soon becomes clear that the killer will stop at nothing to silence anyone who might reveal their identity. So when Ava mentions she saw someone acting strangely at the prom venue that night, Amanda’s heart stops.
And when Amanda’s worst nightmare comes true, and her beloved niece is taken, she knows that every second counts to uncover this twisted killer’s identity and bring Ava home safely. But can she crack the secrets of this killer’s deadly game before it’s too late?

I received this book as an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I have enjoyed reading the Detective Amanda Steele series by Carolyn Arnold, and I was not disappointed in this one. Even though we are on book 8 of the series it is still fun and you are still learning new things about Amanda as you go, which I enjoy. You are also getting to just feel like you are part of Amanda’s life and are on the ride along with her. This time you get to see more of her niece Ava and that was an interesting part of the story. It made me wonder if some day we might see a series with Ava as the lead, since she has detective blood running in her veins.
I still enjoy the partnership that Trent and Amanda have with each other, even if I am a little sad they aren’t together because I always enjoy a partnership turned romance, but I am liking her more with Logan now and enjoying that the friendship with Trent is still there for her. You don’t see too much of the supporting characters in this one, you get little bits and pieces with her family here and there, but I like that this one was really focused on the case and solving it. I enjoyed seeing how Ava even as young as she is already has the making of a future detective, even if her involvement created some chaos.
The writing was well done and the story moved along well and it kept you trying to figure out how it was going to play out. There was a surprise about the killer that I wasn’t expecting, and I liked. I thought it was very relevant to the times we live in today. I also like the final part of the book, it was very action packed and it felt like I was watching a movie scene. I could picture in my mind what was happening as I read it. The story was one of my favorites in the series so far. I am definitely looking forward to seeing what happens next for Amanda and Trent, as well as the rest of the supporting characters in her life.
I would definitely recommend the Amanda Steele series if you enjoy mystery/thrillers.
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